What can be learned from acting out a play?

This week working in groups of four we were given the same small play script each to read, understand and act out as a group in front of the others, within approximately one hour.  A second information sheet was given to each individual to denote how a stage should be set up in order to obtain the positioning of the actors on our pretend stage throughout the play.

A stage has named areas to facilitate the exact movement/positioning of characters upon it, this is also called blocking.

To show you how a stage is set up please take a look at these interesting links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_directions#Stage_directions

http://theatrecrafts.com/glossary/pages/stageplan.html

We all knew a week in advance what play script we were going to use at college so each team had a chance to investigate and look up on Wikipedia what the play was all about. Luckily one of our team members had brought the information with them to college and read this out to us before we began.  This gave us a huge head start on any group that hadn’t done any research in advance by telling us how each actor should behave throughout the play and why.

After getting a feel for the play we read the note on what the stage instructions were all about. This was great as we could refer to the note as necessary to help us place each actor and any props at the correct area of the stage according to the script.

After getting a feel for the play, finding out how our stage should look and where our audience would be, we then began to silently read the play script. Then we discussed and compared the script to the notes that our team member had researched and found on Wikipedia in advance.  From this information we all chose which character we would play based on what we felt we could act out best, taking into account factors such as age, sex, traits, mannerisms and physical characteristics etc.

Once the scene was set, the characters agreed upon and the positioning of all the actors and props noted, then we just had enough time to run through the play twice and get our sense of timings right for the movement and dialogue of each character in the play.  Each group member would give directions or suggestions on what they felt was the best course of action for a particular character in the play.  This time also enabled us to support our fellow actors and put across the theme or message of the play successfully to the audience.

It was quite difficult to follow the play at times as each group member had to follow a script sheet, so they knew whose turn it was to speak and also follow the directions given by the script on how the character should act/behave and move about on stage.  We had to use our imaginations to the fullest and improvise for various props.

Each group acted out the play in front of an audience of approximately ten other students and our tutor.  Upon finishing the play each group got a round of applause and it was interesting to see that the script must have been clear enough for each group to understand and all get the directions right for the positioning of the props and actors on stage.

You might find the following link helpful to show you on how a good play script should be formed:

http://www.playwriting101.com/

Conclusion

It is so much easier to write a play than a novel because of the length.  Getting to grips with acting out a play is a good way to get to feel emotion, movement, positioning, interaction and timing of your characters just like you would show in a novel. Drama is literary art communicated through performance and it is meant to be seen and heard rather than read.  A play is therefore written in the first person with directions whereas a novel can be written in any point of view.  A script has stage settings, directions and dialogue, but usually very little descriptions of setting, characters as this is visually seen. A novel has setting descriptions, character development, narration and more vivid descriptions because you cannot physically view it or hear it.  It was useful to speak out aloud the dialogue in the play because you could hear that it sounded realistic. It is always useful to read your writing aloud in your novel for the same reason.

I hope that you have found this article useful and enjoyable.  Please feel free to share and leave any comments below.

Thank you for reading.

 

Lee. 🙂

 

 

 

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